It is a tremendously exciting time to be in Manchester. Apart from the cool Mancunian spirit that continues to charm (I find northerners to be the friendliest of folk), this charm extends to the hospitality arena too.
This autumn saw the opening of Mamucium, and I had the wonderful opportunity to have a chat with head chef Andrew Green. Glossop born and now residing in Manchester, this intrepid 36 year old is making waves in Manchester’s dining scene. Find out more about Andrew’s vision for Mamucium, his thoughts on the importance of ingredients’ provenance, and the importance of mental health being part of the national conversation.
Having headed up a two AA Rosette restaurant, you are now at the helm of Mamucium. What do you think you can bring to the Manchester dining scene?
Mamucium will slot easily into Manchester’s dining scene. In view of the significant NOMA investment, and particularly now the Rabbit in the Moon has closed, Manchester is ready to welcome a destination restaurant that offers serious food in a comfortable setting.
Mamucium embraces the city’s fantastic, diverse food suppliers, setting us apart from other restaurants in the region. My team’s culinary experience, paired with our knowledge of the local, home-grown produce we use, means we’re able to provide exquisite signature dishes combined with an authentic northern dining experience for our guests.
What were your first thoughts when creating the menu for Mamucium? What factors did you take into consideration when cooking for the Manchester crowd?
I am quite passionate about bringing Manchester’s unique energy to our menu and my first thought was to utilise and adapt classic northern dishes like the staple Lancashire Hot Pot. Do you remember watching Coronation Street as a child when street workers enjoyed Betty’s hot pot? It’s associations like this I wanted to incorporate into our menu to create fantastic memories for our diners.
We all know the Manchester crowd wants great food, cooked well, that’s good value for money. So we’ve taken this approach, but we dress our dishes with a little extra care and precision to give our guests a meal that both looks and tastes amazing. Take our fantastic cannon of Herdwick lamb for example, it’s locally bred here in Lancashire and we serve this premium cut with a confit leg of lamb cabbage parcel, potato pearls, carrot puree and a homemade roasted lamb jus. It’s a classic northern dish, cooked well, but with an added wow factor.
Is there a typical Mamucium diner? If so, what does he/she like?
Anyone and everyone is welcome here in Mamucium. At our core, we’re a destination restaurant that embraces our local neighbourhood and celebrates what the northern quarter has to offer. From signature dishes, such as the premium Himalayan salt aged Lancashire beef for the foodies, to the wild mushroom buckwheat risotto for the veggies, our menu has something for everyone, no matter what your taste.
You can dine early and grab something quick before the theatre, or you can bring the whole family along for the evening as we have a menu especially for those little fingers. As a parent, I appreciate the importance of creating healthy yet enjoyable dishes for my children, and this is what our menu offers.
M Cafe will also feature decadent homemade cakes and locally roasted single original coffee for those looking to relax and recharge, as well as an afternoon tea for when you’re looking for a treat.
Having a restaurant inside a hotel is a heady, exciting experience (I find there is a very special quality to hotel-bars). What do you think are the benefits of Mamucium being inside a hotel?
Whilst Mamucium is undoubtedly housed within the same building as Hotel Indigo Manchester Victoria Station, we see the restaurant as its own entity that will benefit resident diners and external guests. We’re simply a vibrant city centre restaurant with the added luxury of a hotel on top!
Hotel Indigo is renowned for its phenomenal interior design and bringing the neighbourhood story inside its walls, so we’re delighted to be able to bring the two incredible bespoke spaces together under one roof. I think our guests will love the fact they can enjoy an evening in Mamucium and retire to one of our beautiful rooms (rather than getting a taxi home!).
The name Mamucium (yes I had to Google it) is unique and represents fortitude. How do you think the name will translate, and maybe even impact the food that you serve?
You’re right! Mamucium was the name given to the original Roman fort which was the birthplace of modern Manchester, and our entire inspiration for the restaurant and food revolves around this name. We seek to celebrate Manchester’s heritage and the creative, vibrant nature of the North, that’s why we’ve taken classic Mancunian dishes and given them a unique twist to reflect the city’s passion for innovation.
You have been cooking since you were 15 years old back in 1996, How has the restaurant and Manchester dining scene evolved since then?
Well, back then, restaurants used to be once a month treat if you were lucky, now it’s not uncommon for people to dine out a couple of times a week. Whether it be an indulgent meal, quick cheap bite to eat, or a restaurant that uses a discount scheme, it’s becoming ever more popular to dine out.
I think there are many reasons for this shift over the last 20 years. Nowadays, customers are spoilt for choice with a different offering on nearly every street in Manchester, and they’re better educated in terms of the culinary scene and enjoying new trends and flavours. There are so many new cooking programmes on TV and food videos all over social, that people’s expectations have changed.
Recent press reports herald a crisis in the restaurant trade. Is there a dearth of good entry-level chefs in this country and how do you think Brexit will impact these numbers?
Personally, I’ve never really struggled to find good chefs as I believe the way in which you run your kitchen and support your team fuels their ability and commitment to you as a leader. There are plenty of willing, hard-working and talented individuals out there seeking to learn and develop their skills. I hope Brexit does not penalise those who want to progress their career in the culinary world and contribute to our economic system.
Mental health is now part of the national conversation. How do you run a kitchen – with an iron-rod not dissimilar to that found in Gordon Ramsay’s kitchen, or with a little more understanding?
In my opinion a kitchen must be a place you’re happy to work in every day. If you dread going to work, which unfortunately I have experienced in the past, you will never meet your full potential. Just like a football team, an upset team results in a poor run of form. Fear does not drive success, commitment and positivity do, and I care about all my employees. However, everyone has to understand that there must be a line of respect at all times; without this, it could impact negatively on everyone’s career and reputation.
With an increasing number of diners being interested in provenance of ingredients, how important is transparency and letting the diner know what exactly is on their plate?
Transparency is key in delivering great food and everyone deserves to know where it comes from. I am passionate about the ingredients I use and that’s why I love to shout about them. I spend a lot of time choosing the right seasonal ingredients from the start as this ensures we deliver dishes with the finest flavours. It’s no secret that if you use a box-standard product then diners will be able to taste the poor quality!
If we want our region to continue to produce some fantastic produce we must support our suppliers and introduce our customers to their stories. One example of this is the handmade butter we will be using from Derby Hill Farm in Goosenargh. The farm is self-contained, they breed their own cattle, grow their own feed, milk their own cows and hand make their own butter. Not only is it local, but it’s a million times better than most supermarket butters and we and we want to share this experience with our guests.
You champion locally and seasonally sourced food. How important is it, to educate the diner about the ingredients on their plate, and how it impacts the wider environment?
Many diners will be knowledgeable about the ingredients on their plate, but they won’t know where they originated from. In today’s environmentally conscious world, it’s not only key to educate diners about the ingredients themselves, but how they were sourced as this can have the biggest impact on our planet.
One of the reasons why I’m so passionate about using locally and seasonally sourced food is not only the flavour and quality, but it’s important to support our local economy and local businesses. I’d rather pay a little more for something special, than take the average alternative. By using our local suppliers, we’re also reducing our own carbon footprint and the pollution generated from transportation, so it’s a win-win.
Does Mamucium have any events / new menus that you would like to share with readers of RiaGhei.com?
Here at Mamucium, I have developed a wide range of menus to tempt our visitors. Firstly, we have the Main Menu which includes an array of mouth-watering starters, main courses and desserts, featuring my delicious Signature Dishes. You can even watch us prepare the dishes right in front of you at our Chef’s Table overlooking the open kitchen – it’s an immersive dining experience that’s not to be missed.
We also have a Statuo Menu which offers three courses for £24.95, a speciality three course Vegan Menu and a festive menu available throughout December where guests can enjoy some seasonal favourites. For the little ones, I have developed a yummy Children’s Menu which includes a selection of tempting starters, mains and desserts, and not forgetting the M Cafe menu that features a wide range of sandwiches, salads, tapas, cakes and other delicious treats.
To make a reservation at Mamucium, please visit their website now.